Chargers ready for home cooking

The Chargers return home after two demanding road victories, eager to slap another loss on the Raiders. San Diego is looking to beat the Raiders for the seventh straight time.

After defeating the Broncos on Sunday and getting that improbable win over the Bengals before that, the Chargers focus again on one of the season's prime goals: go undefeated at home.

The Chargers, so far, have been perfect at home while prevailing in four games. After finishing but .500 (4-4) at home last year, the Chargers were adamant about being tougher at Qualcomm Stadium.

They can prove their mettle against the Raiders, a struggling team but one which has been competitive of late. And the Raiders seldom have trouble getting hyped for the Chargers, one of their most hated rivals from their AFL days.

"They are playing better," quarterback Philip Rivers said of the Raiders. "We've got where we need to be; now we just got to keep it going."

But the Chargers have had their way of late with the Raiders.

In Rivers' starting debut in the season opener, the Chargers dominated the Raiders in a 27-0 route. In that game, Rivers was allowed to throw only 11 passes as the Chargers were still learning what he could and couldn't do.

Since, the training wheels have been taken off Rivers -- and the offense -- and he has been going at full throttle. Five times this year the Chargers have scored at least 27 points, with a season-high 49 coming in the Bengals win, in which 42 came in the second half.

The Chargers probably won't need that much to upend the offensively challenged Raiders. Especially with LaDainian Tomlinson playing the best ball of his illustrious career.

With 19 touchdown in six weeks, Tomlinson is part of any MVP conversation. In some circles, he is the clear choice.

"I don't think there is any question," Rivers said.

Rivers said what people don't realize is how accomplished a receiver and pass-protector Tomlinson. Everyone notices the mouth-opening cuts, but there's much more to his game that finding the right gap to exploit.

"He is a player," he said, emphasizing the last word. "He blocks and those passes he catches aren't just little dinks and dunks. He is not only valuable when the ball is under his arm. He is valuable in a bunch of other ways."

Rivers has the best vantage point for those impressive Tomlinson runs. Tomlinson has reached 100 touchdowns faster than anyone in NFL history.

"Some of those cuts he makes, the TV doesn't do it justice," Rivers said. "He is what you call a jump-cut guy. He's here, the he just jumps cut but he is just in the air for two seconds."

In quick time, Tomlinson is writing his name all over the record book. He already broke Jim Brown's mark for touchdowns over a five-game span -- Tomlinson had 15, one better -- and he could set his sights on Shaun Alexander's single-season mark for touchdowns (28); Tomlinson has 22.

Some mention that with Tomlinson's quickness to 100 touchdowns he could run down Jerry Rice's all-time mark of 208.

"I don't know really what to think about it," Tomlinson said. "It's obviously something that people are going to start to talk about, but again, it's not something I'm going to think about or even talk about because I'm only in my sixth year. I've still got hopefully a lot of years left, and so I think it's too early to even think about it."

"The season is so long and you've got to stay focused on each week, and so I really don't have the time to get caught up in thinking about records and all this kind of stuff because it's just too hard."


SD Super Chargers Top Stories